Cross-border attacks : ‘Afghanistan will not fire back at Pakistan’

Published: July 6, 2011

Afghan President Hamid Karzai delivers a speech during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron at the presidential palace in Kabul. PHOTO: AFP

KABUL: Afghanistan’s security forces will not respond with military force to weeks of cross-border shelling from Pakistan, President Hamid Karzai said on Tuesday, as the Afghan parliament called on him to sever ties with Islamabad over the issue.

Some 300 people also protested against the shelling in Asadabad, the capital of eastern Kunar province, demanding an end to the shelling and calling for revenge.

Hundreds of rockets have hit Afghanistan since early June, officials say, and killed dozens of civilians, infuriating Afghans from ordinary villagers to the top echelons of power.

A top Afghan police general last week offered his resignation over the government’s response to the attacks, and there have been at least two demonstrations

Karzai said his Interior and Defence Ministers had sought permission to open fire if more rockets landed.

But the president said he had refused because returning fire risked creating more innocent victims in Pakistan.

“Afghanistan never wants to harm civilians in Pakistan with its response,” Karzai told a joint news conference in Kabul with visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron.

“Afghanistan is seriously engaged in talks with Pakistan to solve this issue,” he added.

Karzai’s parliament, despite facing internal turmoil after a government-backed court ruled in June to unseat 62 lawmakers, has focused debate on the attacks for the last three days, and wants to see sterner action.

“The parliamentarians called on the government to cut ties with Pakistan because its non-stop shells have killed many innocent civilians,” said Fraidoon Momand, a lawmaker from eastern Nangarhar province, which has been hit.

“We have long demanded that Pakistan explain the shelling but they didn’t,” he added.

Displaced, injured, dead

The Interior Ministry says nearly 800 rockets have been fired since early June, killing 12 women and girls and 30 men.

Some 55 have been wounded, and 120 houses destroyed.

Pakistan last Monday rejected Afghan allegations of large scale cross-border shelling, saying that only “a few accidental rounds” may have crossed the border when it pursued militants who had attacked its security forces.

It is impossible to verify independently exactly what is happening on the remote, porous and disputed mountainous border, but there are insurgent groups on both sides.

Pakistan has in the past fiercely contested cross-border attacks by NATO forces chasing insurgents on its territory.

Fazlullah Wahidi, the governor of Kunar province, said 635 rockets had been fired into Kunar province killing 22 people and wounding 40. Local people said they would take revenge if they could find weapons.

“My weapon was taken by foreign troops long ago. Now how can I defend my people from brutal rockets from Pakistan,” said protester Ahmad Khan.

“If the NATO forces cannot protect us, they should give back our weapons so we could revenge our people.”

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Paras Vikmani
    Jul 5, 2011 - 6:20PM

    Why is Pakistan doing this?Recommend

  • Arslan
    Jul 5, 2011 - 7:03PM

    lol @ the dude who, when OBL was found in a ‘mansion near Pak. Army camp’, didn’t stop to repeat the the ‘true war was not in Afghanistan’, but somewhere else, and guess where.Recommend

  • Babloo
    Jul 5, 2011 - 8:16PM

    The establishment said the ‘Afganistan is the strategic depth of Pakistan’. But it looks like they have created a ‘strategic hole for Pakistan’.Recommend

  • Salman
    Jul 5, 2011 - 8:42PM

    ROFL! in mein itni capability hai ? Now stop controlling the militants at your end, else prepare for the barrage of rockets from Pakistani side Karzai.Recommend

  • Blithe
    Jul 6, 2011 - 12:09AM

    There is no point in exchanging this
    sort of stupidity. But both sides need to professionally
    guard the boarders.

    The ISAF soldiers are just fluffing around.
    Why are opium poppies still in Afghanistan?

    Why are the boder pickets so scattered
    on the Afghan side?

    The stupid American hammer and anvil policy!
    Why have they been pushing the problem
    towards Pakistan. Recommend

  • pappu
    Jul 6, 2011 - 1:24AM

    Saw the title of news story, laughed a bit, and going to move on. No need to read what Karzai says. He should in fact be placed in a museum. He is the president of a province in a country. Such presidents are rare.Recommend

  • Dildar
    Jul 6, 2011 - 4:05AM

    It appears Pakistan is not even aware of this. More than likely its NATO forces doing the firing from the porus borders chasing the insurgents. Recommend

  • Aggro
    Jul 6, 2011 - 6:34AM

    Some nations are there just to make trouble. They don’t want to develop and they won’t let others develop. Wait for the day when Afghanistan will offer aid.Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jul 6, 2011 - 8:49AM

    Afghans are not totally stupid; they have been fighting among each other and shedding their blood for more than 3 decades, whether USSR or the US were there or not. Finally they have decided that enough is enough and they are negotiating and do not want to prolong the unending war for another decade or more. The US, Afghan govt and Taliban are negotiating to end the war not prolong it. There are some actors who want to keep the conflict going for their own personal interests. It is a fact that Pakistan has officially admitted shelling Afghan territory. However, the Afghan govt must show political maturity and concentrate on the peace process instead of prolonging it. This is called good diplomacy and not getting caught in a trap. Recommend

  • Jul 6, 2011 - 9:40AM

    @Arslan:
    Vienna,06-07-2011
    Yes Arslan mia, the war is razing in the epicenter of terrorism.The civilians deaths
    on both sides of the border are caused by collateral damages.No one to blame.
    That explains Dr.Hamid Karzai´s responsive statement, who does not want civilian
    deaths in Pakistan by Afghan retaliation. He has a bit of Frontier Gandhi´s blood
    in him.
    -Kulamarva BalakrishnaRecommend

  • sam
    Jul 6, 2011 - 2:03PM

    @Paras Vikmani:
    OMG do u realize pakistani ppl pay taxes for taking care of over a million afghan refugees? most of them are the ones who have formed or joined these extremist groups… when we dont do anything indians have a problem when we show zero tolerance for millitants crossing border and into pakistan you STILL have a problem.. make up ur mind will u and stop nagging for the heck of nagging.Recommend

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